Family Literacy


What Is Family Literacy, Anyway?

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education ( includes this about family literacy:

The essence of family literacy is that parents are supported as the first teachers of their children. Programs work with individuals as well as with the family unit. While family literacy programs provide developmental experiences for young children, their parents are offered instruction in parenting skills and parental support to change patterns of family interaction. Some programs build the literacy skills of parents and extend learning opportunities to include pre-employment and employment skills. Instructional approaches are modified appropriately to respond to the variety of cultures within each program. Family literacy programs vary from one community to another as each program works to meet the needs of the participants and the community as well.

ALA’s Literacy Clearinghouse ( includes a page related to Family Literacy and states:

Family literacy involves the literate activities families engage in at home and in the larger community. These interactive routines might include reading and writing together, playing an educational video game, or simply talking to infants and responding to the sounds they make.

The Ohio Literary Resource Center at Kent State University ( describes family literacy in this way:

Family literacy is a term used to describe parents and children – or more broadly – adults and children – learning together. Also known as intergenerational literacy, and in some cases, community literacy, the rationale underlying such work is that parents (and adults in communities) are children’s first teachers; that much learning occurs beyond traditional school settings, and that learning is a lifelong process.


What is Visual Literacy?

"Visual literacy is the ability to construct meaning from images. It's not a skill. It uses skills as a toolbox. It's a form of critical thinking that enhances your intellectual capacity."

Definition of visual literacy. : the ability to recognize and understand ideas conveyed through visible actions or images (such as pictures)

  • The process of sending and receiving messages using images
  • The ability to construct meaning from visual images
  • Intermediality - combined literacies are needed to read in a multi-media world

21st century studies show that young students are consuming images at an extraordinary rate therefore, in a media-driven, image-saturated age it is imperative to broaden the scope of what it means to be "literate" to read images.

Art museums can teach a lot about it because art is a language; it's a form of communication. To be visually literate you got to know the alphabet, the vocabulary and the grammar of Seeing.

A Visually Learned person is, simply put, able to read and write visual language

Why Visual Literacy?

From a young age, a great deal of educational emphasis is placed on teaching children how to identify and read words and understand their meanings. So too do we need to learn to identify, read, and understand images – to become literate in visual language – in order to communicate successfully in our increasingly image-saturated culture.

  • Interpreting content of visual images
  • Examining the social impact of visual images
  • Discussion of their purpose, audience and ownership
  • The ability to visualize internally

In other words, visual literacy is essential because it refers to the ability to construct meaning from everything we see.